Following the Beauty | Opinion

Photo via Pixabay.

Last night we enjoyed homemade pizza and ice cream sundaes as we watched for a second time the delightful movie “Red, White, and Royal Blue.” What fun.

Ray and I have an early dinner on TV tables with Sebastian lying on the ottoman in front of us. We either watch a series or a movie. We’re always pleased when they have a gay character. Everything is close captioned. 

Our lives are not without challenges. We’re both scheduled for surgeries this summer. But the pain we carry around with us doesn’t diminish the joy we experience day to day, nor the gratitude we have for our lives.

“Thank you for pointing out the beauty you see around us,” Ray said to me this morning. “When I look around, I see what needs to be done.”

When we die, we’re not going to be thinking about gutters we wish we had cleaned out, but rather the snapshots we’ve taken with our focus on the moment — the dog leaping elegantly into the pool, laughing with friends, gazing at your spouse throughout the day. There’s the beauty.

The “Tao Te Ching” tells us that when we call some things beautiful, other things become ugly; that in order for there to be a “high” there has to be a corresponding “low.” I understand but disagree. What if everything is beautiful? The beauty of a red hibiscus doesn’t diminish the beauty of a “weed.” One landscaper referred to weeds as “misplaced flowers.”

Everything is beautiful in its own way. Dolly Parton wrote the lyrics to the song made famous by Ray Stevens

“Words can’t describe what I feel inside when I see the beauty in each coming day. What my eyes behold can’t be bought or sold. Everything is beautiful in its own way.”

When I was a younger man, my eyes and mind were well-trained to spot what was not “right”— what picture frame needed straightening, what bush needed trimming, what glass top tables needed cleaning. I can’t tell you when or why the transition happened, but my mind no longer seeks out the “imperfect.” 

Being aware that my future in this human form is limited, evidenced by the breakdown of my body, I now take my time bringing to mind and heart the kaleidoscope of my life, which I do with enormous gratitude. I now see how exquisitely the produce employee has stacked the apples, the dusting of sparkles on the cashier’s purple fingernails, the unique gray-green color of the car parked beside mine. None of that makes other piles of produce, fingernails, or cars ugly. 

As I sit and write this in the physical therapist’s facilities, my left leg throbbing in sciatic pain, my focus is on the two guys sitting nearby. They’re straight white men with boats talking enthusiastically about what they did over the holiday. There’s beauty there too, straight men expressing feelings, but probably not something I’ll think about on my deathbed.


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